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I Love These Shoes, But What Are They?

Halter heels? Slingback mules? Idk, please advise.

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Photo: Kenneth Cole

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It’s finally I-don’t-want-to-die-every-time-I-go-outside degrees, which means it’s time to shop for my S.O.S. (Shoes Of the Summer)! Each year, I buy myself a new pair of presentable sandals I can wear to work and weekend activities alike — and this year, there’s a specific style that’s stolen my heart. The problem is, I don’t know what it’s called.

Here’s what I do know: The shoe in question is backless, like a mule, and open-toe, like a sandal. Typically, there’s a block heel involved. It also features a strap either across the back of the heel, like a slingback, or around the ankle. Sometimes the strap has a buckle; other times, it’s a wrap-and-tie situation. Either way, this means that unlike a typical mule, this shoe won’t accidentally slip or slide off your foot, which is particularly good news for subway commuters and/or power walkers.

But here’s the weird part. While shopping for a pair of these oddly specific shoes, I’ve stumbled across versions described as everything from “halter heels” to “slingback mules” to “mule pumps” to “open-toe booties.” I’ve gathered a few great options below, but before you shop them, please tell me: What would you call this shoe?!

Diane von Furstenberg Carini Leather Slingback Sandals, $328
Diane von Furstenberg Carini Leather Slingback Sandals, $328
VC John Camuto Hollie Knotted Sandal, $195
VC John Camuto Hollie Knotted Sandal, $195
Alexander Wang Nadia Open Toe Bootie, $495
Alexander Wang Nadia Open Toe Bootie, $495
Aldo Cartiera Sandal, $45
Aldo Cartiera Sandal, $45
Aquazzura Noa Sandals, $650
Aquazzura Noa Sandals, $650
Kenneth Cole New York Darla Lace-Back Heels, $170
Kenneth Cole New York Darla Lace-Back Heels, $170